Are Canadians Done With The Bible?
Published by: Canadian Bible Forum and The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, 2014

The Canadian Bible Engagement Study, published on 1 May 2014, found that "about one in seven Canadians, or 14%, read the Bible at least once a week. The majority of Canadians, including those who identify themselves as Christians, read the Bible either seldom or never".

Since 1996, weekly Bible reading has declined by nearly half. People's confidence in the Bible as the Word of God has also decreased signficantly along with declining church attendance. Almost two-thirds of Canadians (64%) and six in ten of those who identified themselves as Christians agree that the scriptures of all major religions teach essentially the same things.

The survey showed that Canadians who are engaging most with the Scriptures have three behaviours in common: community (they are involved in a worshipping community), conversation (they discuss and explore the Bible with their friends) and confidence (they are confident it is the way to know God and hear from him).

View the video, download the executive summary and full report from the Canadian Bible Engagement Study website.

The study concludes with the message that "if churches are to strengthen the Bible engagement of their congregants, they themselves need to be convinced of the reliability, relevance, trustworthiness and divine origin of the Bible".

HT: Lawson Murray, jumpintotheword blog.  [more...]

Scripture Engagement handout from the FOBAI Annual Meeting 2014
Author: Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement

Scripture engagement is a way of hearing and reading the Bible with an awareness that it is in the Bible that we primarily meet God. It is a marinating on, mulling over, reflecting on, dwelling on, pondering of the Scriptures, "until Christ is formed in you" (Galatians 4:19).

The Forum Of Bible Agencies International (FOBAI) Annual Meeting 2014 was held in Sri Lanka, with the theme "Next Generation Scripture Engagement - The South Asian Experience". We began every morning with a time of Scripture engagement in our table groups, meditating on Psalm 1 in different ways. On the first day, the focus was on using Lectio Divina.

There are four traditional stages of Lectio Divina:

1. Reading (Lectio): To be done slowly and with focussed attention. Lectio Divina is best practiced with passages that you have at least some familiarity with.

2. Meditation (Meditatio): The goal is to pick out a word, idea, or phrase that strikes you in a personal way, and to repeat that idea in your mind, lingering over it and giving it your attention.

3. Prayer (Oratio): Take all the thoughts, feelings, actions, fears, convictions, and questions you have meditated on and offer them to the Lord in prayer.

4. Contemplation (Contemplatio): The 'task' in this stage is simply to be silent in the presence of God.

Download the handout which contains a description of Lectio Divina and directions for using this method of Scripture engagement with Psalm 1.  [more...]

Monday 17 - Saturday 22 November, 2014
Redcliffe College, Gloucester, UK
Sponsor: Redcliffe College, Wycliffe Bible Translators, SIL

This intensive Bible Storying Course will give participants the skills to help people engage with God’s Word through the retelling of Biblical Stories. The method has been used with people who prefer audio or visual ways of learning as well as in cultures where the Bible is not available in printed form.

The course will help participants to:

  • Tell a story to a small group, help others to learn the story, and lead a discussion about the spiritual application of the story
  • Understand the worldviews of the group, which stories are most appropriate to the group and and how to adapt your story to a given worldview
  • Begin story crafting with a Bibleless language group, or people already with Scriptures but who need help in engaging with them to understand the Bible’s whole story. They could be somewhere remote or even in your own town in the UK or Europe!

For more details on the course and booking information see Redcliffe's website.

The course is taught in partnership with Wycliffe Bible Translators and SIL, as part of Redcliffe’s Centre for Linguistics, Translation and Literacy.  [more...]

Research conducted among US adults
Author: Barna Group
Published by: American Bible Society (2014)

The American Bible Society and Barna Group have published their annual research on the State of the Bible, "a comprehensive study of Americans' attitudes and behaviors toward the Bible".

For 2014, they identify six trends:

  1. Bible skepticism is now “tied" with Bible engagement. Skepticism or agnosticism about the Bible has increased and now stands at 19%, the same as the percentage of those who are Bible engaged (who read the Bible at least four times a week and believe it is the actual or inspired Word of God).
  2. Despite the declines, most Americans continue to be "pro-Bible." But "being pro-Bible doesn't necessarily mean Americans use the Bible regularly, however. Only 37% of Americans report reading the Bible once a week or more."
  3. Distraction and busyness continue to squeeze out the Bible. "Americans say they want to read the Bible — 62% wish they read Scripture more — they just don't know how to make time."
  4. The age of screens has come to stay in the Bible market. "In just a handful of years, use of tablets and smartphones for Bible searches has skyrocketed, from 18% in 2011 to 35% in 2014. That said, a strong majority still prefer to read the Bible in print (84%); the same holds true even among Millennials (81%)."
  5. Increasingly, people come to the Bible for answers or comfort. Although most come to the Bible to connect with God, there is an increase in those looking for pragmatic answers to life's problems.
  6. People are less likely to link moral decline with a lack of Bible reading. People blame decline on other things (movies, music, TV, etc).

Download the full report and infographics from the American Bible Society website.  [more...]

Un manuel d’utilisation pour l’éditeur audio numérique Audacity
Authors: Fina Linan, Richard Margetts

This is the updated and expanded 2014 French version of How to do recording on your computer, an in-depth beginner's manual for recording with Audacity.

Scripture engagement practitioners across the Francophone world are using Audacity to record Scripture portions, Bible stories, radio programmes and Scripture songs. This 140-page manual can be used as a self-teaching aid or as part of a training workshop.

It covers subjects such as the choice of recording equipment, recording and editing audio, mixing multiple tracks and reducing background noise. The French version has an extended appendix on troubleshooting sound recording and playback problems with different Windows operating systems.  [more...]

Re-mastered in high-definition with a new musical score
Published by: JESUS Film Project, 2014

After 35 years, billions of viewings, 1,200 language translations and countless numbers of transformed lives, the classic JESUS Film taken directly from the book of Luke has been re-mastered in high-definition with a new musical score in Dolby 5.1 surround sound and special bonus features.

Available on DVD and Blu-ray from April 1, 2014. Languages: English, Spanish, Mandarin, French, Vietnamese, German, Korean and Arabic.

From the press release:

"While many have seen the original JESUS film, watching the 35th anniversary, re-mastered edition is akin to experiencing a brand new movie," said Dr. Erick Schenkel, Executive Director of The JESUS Film Project, a ministry of Cru. "During the film’s restoration, each of its 173,000 frames were individually and painstakingly re-touched and re-colored, and the entire audio track was re-done with dialogue, sound effects and new music."  [more...]

30 days of readings for Scripture Engagement
Published by: FOBAI (2014)

Scripture engagement is about meeting God. It is a relational process. When you come to Scriptures, are you meditating on them, letting them be on your heart, talking about them, letting them be planted in your life, looking at them intently, and retaining them?

This 30-day Bible Reading Plan has been prepared for those participating in the FOBAI Annual Meeting: "Next Generation Scripture Engagement - the South Asian Experience".

The plan focuses on what the Bible says about God’s Word and is full of relevant Scripture passages and quotes for SE practitioners around the world.

Day 1: What do we mean when we say the Bible is the Word of God?
Days 2-3: How do we come to the Word of God?
Day 4: What is the Word of God like?
Days 5-7: Qualities of God's Word
Day 8: The Persons of the Trinity are distinguished from
one another in Scripture according to their role in the divine speech
Day 9: In the Bible, Scriptures are spoken of as if they were God and God is spoken of as if he were the Scriptures.
Day 10: The God who speaks.
Day 11: God's Word is about Jesus
Day 12: Where God's Word is, there is God's Spirit
Day 13: Hearing God's Word
Day 14: Speaking God's Word
Day 15: Singing God's Word
Day 16: Memorizing God's Word
Day 17: God's Word is clear...  [more...]

Report into Scripture reading habits of parents and children
Published by: Bible Society, UK

The Bible Society in the UK has launched Pass It On, a campaign to encourage parents to read, watch or listen to a Bible story with their child.

An accompanying Research Report is available for download. Among the findings are:

  • Only 35% of children have had a Bible story read to them by their parents and just 16% by their grandparents.
  • Over half of children (54%) never, or less than once a year, read Bible stories at school or at home, and 45% of parents of children aged 3 to 8 say they never read Bible stories to their child, falling to 36% in London and rising to 52% in Scotland and 60% in Wales.
  • In stark contrast, 86% of parents read, listened to or watched Bible stories themselves as a child aged 3 to 16.
  • For 1 in 5 parents (22%) of younger children, aged 3 to 8, a lack of time is a barrier to them reading to their children more often. For some parents, an increase in the availability of different types of media is making it difficult to read more often to their children. Yet, while digital devices are growing in popularity, 82% of children still like to read stories more traditionally in a book.

The report concludes:

Our research highlights a number of worrying trends, among them evidence that Bible literacy – already in serious decline – will become significantly worse in the future.

While millions of people in Britain and around the world believe in the value Bible stories bring to society, little is being done in our homes or schools to keep them alive for future generations.

The Pass It On campaign seeks to respond to this challenge.  [more...]